Friday, December 4, 2009

contemplations on a recurring theme

Sitting alone in the darkened room, listening to the staccato tapping of the rain against the window pane, she slowly raises her head. The echoes of absolute silence, other than the rain, reverberate through her mind as she listens to sounds from another time, another place, another life. A time when there were sounds of love, of something other than the emptiness and the darkness. The bottle of tequila sits on the coffee table in front of her, alone and neglected after surrendering its last drop of liquid escape. Rising from the sofa where she has sat for the better part of the day, squinting against the wash of sunlight, then watching the purples and pinks of twilight fade to the velvet black of night. She walks to the kitchen. Bending to open the cabinet beneath the sink, she feels around for another bottle. Hand groping fruitlessly, she sighs and leans against the countertop. God she’s weary, so worn, used up, dried out. Sighing again, she looks down, knowing what she’ll find even before her eyes make the movement and her brain registers the image. Picking it up, enjoying the feel of it grasped tightly in her hand, her mind going through the sluggish circles caused by the alcohol coursing through her system, she smiles. It’s not a happy smile. It’s not a joyful smile. No humor touches her bloodshot eyes . It’s not that kind of smile. An endless video loop runs through her mind as she gives the small vial a little shake, enjoying the sound of the pharmaceutical maraca. Smiling again, she enjoys the music of the macabre. Swaying slowly from side to side, the casual observer wouldn’t know whether she danced to some private music the rest of the world couldn’t hear or whether her intoxication had finally surpassed her limits. She’s lost in her own private world, a hell of her own making. She takes some comfort and a bizarre sense of pride in this creation of hers. It’s the one thing she can truly call her own and it’s the one thing they couldn’t take from her. Shaking slightly, she twists the cap and watches as the brightly colored capsules tumble out, left breathless by their beauty and the promise they hold. She remembers reading somewhere, perhaps in another life, that nature painted its most deadly components in vivid Technicolor, a warning to their unsuspecting victims. A dry laugh escapes her parched throat because she knows she would never be the type of person to heed a warning like that. She would be inexplicably drawn to the bright bands of the coral snake, the shining gold of the death stalker scorpion. Almost unconsciously, she reaches and takes the pills in her hand. Her eyes are open staring blindly as she watches the scenes unfold on the screen in her mind. A child, blonde and happy, smiling up at her parents as she unwraps a birthday gift, a slim, shapely teenager eagerly going on her first date, an attractive young woman walking down the aisle, dressed in white, on her father’s arm. She remembers these sensations but doesn’t know why. Surely that wasn’t her? Was she ever happy? Did she ever really feel that joy, that excitement, that sweet anticipation? The reel continues to play, fading to a slightly older woman now, sitting cross-legged on the floor, her lip open and bleeding, silent tears falling. Nodding, she thinks, yes, I do remember this. This was me. And later, more tears, more bruises, more blood. More shattered dreams laying like the jagged pieces of a broken mirror at her feet, as she stares down in horror at them. Watching her life play out she finds herself swimming once again in that dark and dismal pool of self-doubt, self-loathing and utter wretchedness that has become her existence in this world. The words inside her head she recites like a mantra, it wasn’t supposed to be like this. It wasn’t supposed to be like this. Over and over as if they hold some magical power to suddenly transform her, transform what she’s become into what she was meant to be. Looking around, disoriented, she doesn’t find the smiling, doting husband she though would be hers, she doesn’t see the laughing, playful children who would look at her with adoration knowing in their hearts that she was indeed infallible. She sighs and thinks, “there is no life here,” and with that thought swallows a handful of sweet release.

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